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Forest takeover may hit snags

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Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Mariankis has been linked with taking a majority stake in Nottingham Forest for some time now.    Some reports suggest that a deal to acquire a 80 per cent holding may be imminent.

Mariankis is the owner of the Piraeus based team Olympiakos.   They have been crowned champions for six consecutive years, this year by a record 28 points.

So far, so good.  However, he could face some challenges in passing the admittedly elastic Football League owners' and directors test.   He is currently banned from any football activity in Greece.

The ban is one of the bail conditions that was imposed when he was arrested last year, after a 173-page report by the public prosecutor alleged that he was 'directing a criminal organisation' with the aim of achieving absolute control of Greek football by the methods of blackmailing and fraud.'  It also accused him of trying to change the outcome of a game by bribery, and arranging an explosion.

He was released on bail of £200,000 with an obligation to report to the local police station every fortnight.   The prosecutor is expected to issue an 'initial verdict' in the next few weeks before the case proceeds to trial.   Mariankos denies any wrongdoing.

In an earlier brush with the law Mariankos was accused of match fixing and entering a referee's room at half time to threaten him.  He was acquitted.   However, that case could be reopened after the discovery that one of the three judges is being investigated over his dealings with Emilios Kotsonis, a close Mariankos associate and fellow former director of Olympiakos.   He is facing charges of attempting to smuggle 2.1 tons of heroin into Greece.